UK Automotive remains committed to the goal of zero emission transport, and will continue to massively invest in the full range of technologies and products, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
Responding to the government’s Road to Zero Strategy, the industry said it supports the UK’s ambitions but huge challenges around consumer demand as well as refuelling and charging infrastructure need to be addressed for the transition to zero emission vehicles to be a success.
The Strategy also recognised the critical role internal combustion engines, and particularly diesel, will continue to play for many years to come. The latest diesels are helping address air quality and this will only improve further as the technology continues to advance. As the Strategy explains, diesel remains the right choice for many drivers, especially those who drive long distances, and this should now give consumers and businesses the confidence to buy the right car – whatever the technology – for their particular driving needs.
|Industry welcomes government’s commitment to a country-wide charging infrastructure, with the Strategy acknowledging the important role it will play in helping reassure consumers and accelerate the uptake of ultra-low and zero emission vehicles. Government’s technology neutral approach is essential but must be strategically coordinated to deliver the roll out of new charging and refuelling infrastructure, involving all relevant stakeholders including chargepoint providers, energy and fuel companies, distribution network operators and local authorities.
The UK remains a centre of excellence for internal combustion technology, and our industry supports more than 850,000 jobs across the country. While the sector is embracing the transition to battery technology, there are further opportunities, especially in supply chain, so collaboration is essential to safeguard the recent success which has delivered growth and jobs. The 2025 review provides a timely opportunity for a comprehensive assessment of the Strategy and the impact of the underlying policies on global competitiveness.
|Road to Zero also includes government’s ambitions for the number of ultra-low emission vehicles on the road by 2030. Government’s target of 50-70% of the market for cars and 40% of the market for vans is far higher than the expectations set out by the European Commission or by other major automotive markets.
The UK is currently at just 2.2% market penetration of ultra-low emission vehicles, and only 0.6% of zero emission vehicles, underscoring the challenge involved in increasing this to at least 50% in only 12 years. For consumers to adopt these technologies, government must provide a long-term commitment to a world-class package of incentives, including tax and other financial stimuli, policy support and infrastructure – only some of which have been set out today.
The UK automotive industry is already advancing towards zero emission transport, investing billions to develop and supply alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs). There are now around 80 AFV models on the market, including some 50 plug-ins, with more to come.
The challenge is not so much availability, as consumer confidence. Importantly, the Strategy recognises the need for the transition to be led by consumers and industry, but this must be supported by the right consumer incentives.